January 18 2020 - January 05 2020

PriestMartyr Theopemptos, Bishop of Nicomedia, and Martyr Theon the Sorcerer (+ 303). Nun Syncleticea of Alexandria (+ c. 350).

Prophet Micah (IX Cent. BC). Nun Apollinaria (+ c. 470). Monks Phosterios and Minos (VI). Monk Gregory of Acletia (+ c. 820). MonkMartyr Romanos from Karpeniseia (+ 1694). PriestMartyr Romanos the Lacedemoneian (+ 1695). Martyr Theoides. Martyr Saisos. Nun Tatiana. Sainted Lucian the Bishop and Saint Thomas.

The Holy Martyrs Theopemptos and Theon suffered in Nicomedia in the year 303. Saint Theopemptos was bishop in Nicomedia during the time of Diocletian. Speaking out against idol-worship, he defended the faith in Christ. Summoned to the emperor, he refused to carry out his demand to worship an idol of Apollo. They threw Saint Theopemptos into a red-hot furnace, but by the power of God he remained alive. The emperor came by night with a detachment of soldiers to the furnace and there actually saw the saint alive and praying to God. Ascribing the miracle accomplished to be a work of magic, Diocletian gave orders to wear down Saint Theopemptos by hunger and thirst during the course of 22 days, but here also by the will of God the martyr was preserved.

The emperor then summoned the famous sorcerer Theon, brought in to overcome the magical power which, as they supposed, was possessed by the holy bishop Theopemptos. Theon prepared a poison for Saint Theopemptos – put into a little cake, and offered it to him to eat. The poison did no harm at all to Saint Theopemptos. A second time, Theon tried out the effect of a still stronger poison on the martyr; but seeing, that Saint Theopemptos remained unharmed, he himself came to believe in Christ. They threw him into prison together with the holy bishop, who taught and baptised him, giving him the name Synesios (which means “fulfillment of understanding”).

In the morning Diocletian summoned Saint Theopemptos and again contended with him to recant from Christ; but, seeing the unbending rigour of the holy man, he subjected him to many grievous tortures, after which the saint was beheaded. The holy martyr Theon, having refused to offer sacrifice to idols, was buried alive in a deep ditch. This occurred at Nicomedia in the year 303.

The Nun Syncleticea was a native of Alexandria, the daughter of rich parents, pretty, and from her early years she thought only about things pleasing to God. Loving the purity of virginity, she declined to enter into marriage, and spent all her time in fasting and prayer. After the death of her parents she distributed her inheritance to the poor, and having accepted monasticism together with her blind sister, she withdrew into one of the crypts belonging to her kin. News about her ascetic deeds quickly spread throughout the vicinity, and many pious women and girls came to her to live under her guidance. During the course of her ascetic life the saint zealously instructed her sisters by word and by deed. In her 80th year of life she was struck by an intense and grievous illness. The nun bore the outcome of her ordeal with true christian endurance. The saint died in about the year 350, at age 83.

The Holy Prophet Micah was a companion of the holy prophet Elias. He prophesied the ruin of King Ahab in a war with the Assyrians, for which he was put into prison. Set free after the downfall of Ahab (3 Kings 22: 8-22), the holy prophet Micah died a martyr in the IX Century BC.

The Nun Apollinaria was a daughter of Anthemias, a former governor of the Greek empire during the minority of Theodosius the Younger (408-450). Having declined marriage, she requested of her pious parents permission to venerate at the holy places of the East. Having arrived in Alexandria from Jerusalem, she secretly away from her servants changed into the garb of a nun and hid in one of the marshy places, where she practised asceticism for several years in strict fasting and prayers. By a revelation from above, she was guided into a skete monastery to Saint Makarios of Egypt, and took for herself the monastic name Dorotheos. The Monk Makarios accepted her into the ranks of his brethren, and she there quickly distinguished herself by her ascetic life. The parents of Apollinaria had also another daughter, who was beset by demons. They sent her to the skete to the Monk Makarios, who took the sick girl to the monastic Dorotheos (Blessed Apollinaria), through whose prayers the maiden received healing. In returning homewards the maiden was again beset by a violent demon, which gave her the appearance of a pregnant woman. This produced great anger in her parents, who dispatched soldiers to the skete, and they demanded to see the perpetrator of their daughter’s outrage.

Saint Apollinaria took on herself the blame and went with the envoys to the home of her parents. There she revealed her secret to her parents, healed her sister, and returned to the skete, where in a short while she died peacefully in the year 470. Only after the death of the monastic Dorotheos was it revealed that this was a woman. The body of the saint was buried in a cave in the monastery church of Saint Makarios of Egypt.

The Monk Phosterios the Wanderer pursued asceticism on an high mountain. By his powerful working of miracles and saintly life, he restored many from heresy.

The Monk Minos pursued asceticism for 50 years in a Sinai monastery, and died peacefully in the second half of the VI Century.

The Monk Gregory of Acretia was born on the island of Crete in the year 760. He received an upbringing by pious parents. This was a time when the iconoclast heretics persecuted the orthodox. The youth Gregory, wanting to preserve his Orthodox faith, went to Seleukos and lived there leading a life of piety.

At age 20 the Monk Gregory set off to Jerusalem and dwelt there for 12 years, enduring fierce persecution from the Arabs. From there Saint Gregory journeyed to Rome, where he took monastic vows. He became spiritually acquainted there with Saint Michael, bishop of Synadia (Comm. 23 May), who took him along and settled in a monastery on the Cape of Acretia (Sea of Marmora). The saint accomplished great ascetic deeds and died in about the year 820.

The MonkMartyr Romanos from Karpeniseia was born in Moreia. He was a monk on Athos, and suffered for Christ at Tsar’grad, beheaded with a sword by the Turks in the year 1694.

© 1999 by translator Fr. S. Janos